The next time you show up at M&T Bank Stadium, you'll notice the place will have a fresh look in a couple of areas.
The major improvement will be on the field; it will, in fact, be the field itself.
The Ravens are in the process of installing a new field surface, which is called "Momentum 51" and is produced by Shaw Sportexe.
The change in fields wasn't made because the previous surface was sub-par, but rather because "Momentum 51" is considered the newest evolution of artificial fields. In a 2008-09 survey by the NFL Players Association, the previous surface was voted the third best in the NFL among artificial playing surfaces.
"Our goal is to have the safest, most consistent playing surface in the NFL, and we believe we have it with 'Momentum 51,'" Ravens president Dick Cass said. "Our old field, which would have been serviceable for a few more years, provided consistency in footing in every type of weather. It was also regularly graded highly by the players."
The first event on the new field will be the NCAA Lacrosse Championships, which are scheduled for May 29-31. The Ravens will first get to break the field in on August 12 when they start the preseason against the Panthers. That game will be televised nationally by ESPN.
"One of the reasons we selected 'Momentum 51' is that it plays well in a variety of competition," said Roy Sommerhof, the Ravens' vice president of stadium operations. "It holds up with 300-pound offensive linemen digging in and with fast-moving games like lacrosse and soccer. Competing in bad weather does not slow the athletes and does not damage the field."
If you're particularly interested in the nitty-gritty details about "Momentum 51", here you go:
Each square foot has 1,152 tufts of fibers that duplicate the feel and texture of natural grass. Each tuft contains at least eight individual fibers, and there will be a total of over one billion synthetic grass blades on the field. The "Momentum 51" field is 2.5 inches deep with a two-inch infill that is a 50-50 mix of sand and rubber. Each square foot contains 6.5 pounds of this infill, totaling 767,000 pounds for the full field.
There will be a quiz tomorrow.
The new field will have yard lines, numbers and hash marks inlaid into the surface, but all logos, including the Ravens' mark, will be painted on for specific events.
"We think this is the best product. That's why the Ravens wanted it," said Dan Follett, the Ravens head groundskeeper. "We know how to maintain it and keep it fresh for each event at M&T. Our players and coaches like it, as do the athletes who have had the opportunity to compete here from other sports."